PICKERING Town boss Steve Roberts is looking at Saturday's season-opener against Workington as a good gauge of where the Pikes are at.

Workington finished the truncated 2019/20 season 10 points clear of the chasing pack - albeit having played three games more - at the summit, while Pickering were five points adrift at the bottom of the table. Had the coronavirus pandemic not intervened, there is a chance the teams could now be two divisions apart.

Roberts, though, is looking forward to the encounter and insists Pickering will be playing for a positive result in their first game back in the Northern Premier League north/west division.

"I couldn't have been more pleased with the players we've brought in," he said.

"It's going to be a test, top against bottom. But we go in with no fear and nothing to lose.

"The emphasis will be on them to win, but we're not just going to sit back and defend.

"It will give me a good idea of what we need to work on.

"We will be playing for a positive result and it will be competitive. I'm looking forward to it.

"I think we are (ready)," he added.

"We had an indifferent pre-season but I expected that with the turnover of players. It will take time to get the players to gel but there are good signs that we're going to get there. It's not going to happen straight away but I don't mind.

"Workington is going to be a good gauge."

Pickering head into the game off the back of an "indifferent" pre-season, according to Roberts. From their nine warm-up games, the Pikes had four wins, four losses and one draw.

He continued: "Pre-season, they acquitted themselves really well as a group, working hard and taking on board what I was saying. It has been the hardest pre-season a lot of them have had.

"Consett (a 2-1 away win), I was pleased with, but we had blips like (losing 1-0) against Garforth, no disrespect to them.

"Hopefully we'll get it right on Saturday, and if we don't, hopefully it won't take long for us to come good."